Foiled by Phlegm



Last Monday, I had edited and readied for publication two author interviews and a long-overdue book review. Filled with hubris at my productivity, I gave a little cough to clear my throat and proclaim my triumph over lesser mortals.

I could not stop coughing for the next seven days. Add chills, body aches, fever, lack of appetite and a general inclination to remain unbathed and you have the puny remains of my flu-ravaged self.

Word count on the latest novel draft since that fateful Monday = 0

Published articles/blog posts since that fateful Monday = 0

Tomorrow is a new day. I’m climbing out of the menthol-vapor soaked depths of delirium. I managed to submit the two interviews, tomorrow will be the book review, and I’ll be up early to add words to the Work in Progress.

I read a beautiful novel while I was recuperating. It’s not new, my sister had been recommending it for months, and it was a big hit when it was first released. I will offer that it’s timeless, eloquent, and magical. I cried when it ended. It’s called Peace Like a River and I hope everyone reads it. I also watched Pride and Prejudice again for a gazillionth time. Comfort food.

Sometimes we have to take care of ourselves. Creativity does indeed sleep.



5 Thoughts on “Foiled by Phlegm

  1. Me too! I just got out of the creative dark side of illness. Welcome back!

  2. Sorry to hear you have been sick. I did notice your absence, but thought you were just busy!

    Hope the ‘break?’ has given you much-needed dreaming/thinking time, and turns out NOT to be a waste of time, after all! (Every cloud… )

    Love, Hedgey 😉 xx

Book Review: Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor

Murder in an Irish Village jacket

Murder in an Irish Village jacket 

“If Janet Evanovich and Maeve Binchy wrote a book together, Murder in an Irish Village would be the result.” ~ Laurien Berenson, author of Live and Let Growl

I was fortunate to read an early draft of Murder in an Irish Village,and despite a busy schedule, finished it in a day and a half. If you love mysteries with heart, humor, and a world you can get lost in, you’ll look forward to the next installment of the series. 

Carlene O'Connor headsho

First-time mystery author Carlene O’Connor shares her love of storytelling and an affinity for the Irish countryside in Murder in an Irish Village (Kensington Books, 2016), the first in a planned series featuring Siobhan and her raucous, engaging brothers and sisters.

The fiery redhead navigates guardianship of her siblings and a hint of romance with a local police officer while trying to carve out a semblance of normalcy for herself in her home village of Kilbane, County Cork.


Niall brought his face close to hers. She stood her ground despite desperately wanting to back away from him.

She’d never seen such a look in anyone’s eyes before. It was as if he was pleading with her and threatening her at the same time. Like a wounded animal you feared would tear into you the minute you stepped in to help. She was trapped.

“I need ten thousand euro.” Niall inched even closer.

They barely had a thousand euro in the bank. Not that it mattered. She wouldn’t give Niall Murphy the lint from her pocket.

Siobhan O’Sullivan is doing the best she can. Barely a year has passed since her parents died in a car accident, leaving her to run the family bistro and look after the rest of the O’Sullivan Six. James, the oldest brother, is only a few months sober and their four younger siblings depend on them for just about everything.

When they wake to find a man sitting in their bistro dining room with a pair of scissors sticking out of his chest, the future of the restaurant is as unsure as their own. Siobhan has already sacrificed her scholarship to Trinity College and now risks her own safety to help track down the killer, protect her siblings, and keep the doors of Naomi’s Bistro open.

O’Connor has created an enchanting village filled with colorful locals, each with their own distinct roles to play. The engaging characters include Siobhan’s siblings who add warmth, laughs, and more than their own slew of problems to her already burdened shoulders. Amateur sleuth Siobhan faces these challenges with believable determination, a fiery wit, and more than a hint of charisma.

The fictional town of Kilbane is rendered in breathtaking brushstrokes of blue skies, rolling green hills, historic ruins, and the authentic dialogue of its inhabitants. Carlene O’Connor writes with humor, an obvious love of her chosen setting, and a deft hand at plotting. She strikes just the right balance between a fully fleshed out world and brisk pacing.

Readers and armchair sleuths will find solving this crime challenging. Luckily, they’ll enjoy the journey as they meander the lanes and fields of this walled village, and will eagerly await the next adventure of the O’Sullivan Six.

For more information on author Carlene O’Connor, you can read my interview with the author here. You can also connect with her on Facebook and her website.

2 Thoughts on “Book Review: Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor

  1. Kim Samudio on February 26, 2016 at 2:27 pm said:

    I wanted to read this as soon as I saw the reference “heart, humor and a world you can get lost in”, especially if that world is the Irish countryside! Great review, love the details – I will be reading soon!

Lori Rader-Day, Author of The Black Hour, Shares Advice for Writers

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Black Hour cover web (1)

Who doesn’t love a good mystery?

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking my third class this year from Story Studio Chicago.  Our “drill seargent” for Mystery  Bootcamp was none other than debut author, Lori Rader-Day.  Lori’s first published novel The Black Hour, was released in July and has earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal just to name a few.

I bought a copy of Lori’s book (the cover is intriguing – just look at the way that beam of light shines through the trees and onto the “o” in “hour”) and later contacted her for an interview.

You can catch both my review and Lori’s great advice to new writers at

“If anyone ever says anything about “the muse,” just back away slowly. Write when you can and when you can’t. Write. Don’t wait for some fairy to land on your shoulder. The only way to get any musing done is to do it yourself.”  ~ Lori Rader-Day

For more information on Lori, visit her website



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Interview with Dr. Suzana E. Flores, Author of Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships, and Lives


Dr. Suzana E. Flores

Following the release of her book, Dr. Flores shared some insights on her writing process. Visit for more on our conversation regarding social media and Facehooked.

What made you want to write this book?

I wanted to read this book but it wasn’t there.  Every book I found was either for academics or telling you how to navigate social media.  I kept waiting and waiting for someone else to write it and no one did.  I kept talking to my friends about my concerns with Facebook and after about a year of this, they said I should write my observations down. Fear or no fear, I thought, I have to do this.

What were you afraid of?

I’m not a writer, I’m a therapist. But we all are writers, if you have a story to tell.

So this is your first book and did you have any help?

I had one friend in particular who helped me organize it. He helped me form the skeleton of the book, the proposal and helped me to find my voice.

How long did this project take?

It was a 3-year process. It took me a long time to start because of self-doubt in my ability to write a book, but it also took a long time because I interviewed many people and collected case studies for the book.

How did you go about getting an agent?

It was trial and error. I read the books on query writing and proposals and the same friend that helped me organize the book helped me with the query and proposal. I then emailed different agents based on similar interests to my book.

What was the publishing process like for you?

Well, I’m kind of a crazy anomaly. I had an agent in about 15 minutes.  This agent was fascinated by the subject but I let her go because she wanted more of the highbrow book. I wanted to write a book for everyone not just academics.

Did that make you nervous?

Yes. People said I was crazy to not sign but three months later, I met Elizabeth Kracht with Reputation Books and it was a match made in heaven.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

To not listen to negativity.  Thoughts are very powerful. “You will never find an agent. Never find a publisher.”  I was scared enough. If I had listened to any of it, I would never have written the book.

Anything else?

Just write. Don’t edit. Just write. If you’re passionate, just do it.

Dr. Suzana E. Flores is a practicing psychologist in Chicago.  Visit her website for more information.   Facehooked is available on Amazon.



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Are YOU Facehooked®?


Check out my book review of ‘Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships and Lives’ by Dr. Suzana E. Flores.  You can find it on or at the Seattle Post Intelligencer!FACEHOOKEDeCover

Check back soon for an interview with the author on the project’s origins and her advice to aspiring authors!


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